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A "Wee" Adventure to the Lost Coast

1633 Views 9 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  chicago
I've only had my Wee for about a month and I've been itchin' for a road-trip somewhere. I live near San Francisco so there are lots of great rides that count as day-trips but I've been looking for something a bit more of a stretch. I've been planning on riding down to Ventura to see my grand-daughter (Oh Yeah...and her parents too of course:mrgreen:) which will be kind of a longish day given the side roads I want to take, and so getting in some practice would be good excuse for a ride.

Day 1:
A friend and I had talked about riding the Lost Coast between Ft. Bragg and Eureka. At the last minute he had to cancel so I decided to do it alone. I got some terrific advice from fellow BARF members, and Friday morning early I took off!

I hit Hwy 1 just below Bodega Bay and amazingly (for summer) the day was beautiful and sunny with no sign of fog.

Hwy 1 has to be one of really magnificent roads in America. Living as close to it as we do it is easy to get complacent about it. A lot of us tend to avoid it because of the tourist traffic, especially in the summer, but this day was relatively traffic-free. There were a few RVs but most of them politely took the turn-outs to let traffic pass (well...except for one guy in a Rent-a-bago who figured he paid taxes on the whole road and could use it as he liked). On a clear day the scenery is drop-dead gorgeous!

North of Ft. Bragg Hwy 1 turns inland and joins Hwy 101 at Leggett. That short stretch through the coastal mountains has to be one of the great rides in the country. Much too nice to stop for any more pics!:thumbup:

The Avenue of the Giants parallels 101, so I took a small side trip to ride through the redwoods.

Then on up to Eureka for a marginal motel (I don't recommend the Roadway Inn:thumbdown:) and a couple of welcome beverages.:thumbup:

Day 2
I'm an early riser so I was loaded and on the road before my breakfast joint opened. The Samoan Cookhouse is sort-of a tourist trap and sort-of a local institution. I had eaten there once in 1989 with my oldest and I figured I ought to try it again. Good food...lots of it...and I think twice is enough. Anyway I had to kill some time until it opened at 7.

Access to the Lost Coast is from Ferndale down the Mattole Road. Beautiful riding but a very rough road. My Wee did great!

After about 20 miles...and a little over an hour...I got the first look at the coast itself. At this point the road is steep and mostly loose gravel so I had trouble stopping to take pics.

The whole Mendocino/Lost Coast area has a reputation for being...well...a little strange. There are stories of "herb" farms, insular locals, and faint banjo music playing in the wind. My experience was that I didn't see anything too unworldly, and I'm not sure about the banjo music (although I might have heard a faint tune on the front porch of the store in Honeydew), but there were a few sights out of the ordinary for sure...

Like a couple of Texas longhorns!

...or how about an oversize Irish cottage complete with a real thatched roof!

After Honeydew it's just a long ride out across the bridge...

...through the Humbolt Redwoods again...

...and out to the Eel River bridge and 101 again.

It took me about 4 hours to ride 60 miles with stops for pics and snacks. By the time I got out I decided to just head back to the Bay Area. I did find a good burger place in Willits named, naturally, "The 101 Drive Inn". Good burgers and shakes and friendly folks!

Overall my Wee ran great and handled the gravel sections with no problems even with Battle Wings that already have a pretty good flat side. For 720 miles she averaged 51.6 miles per gallon.

Lessons learned? I had a blast and I'd do it again in a heartbeat!:thumbup:

Hope you enjoyed the report and the pics...

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Glad I saw your post..... very nice pictures. We're riding that way after the V-Strom rally in Boise. Spending a couple nights in Ferndale at a B&B giving us sometime to explore and ride around the area. Interesting comment about the Samoa Cook House.... I have a friend that said I should eat there... is there a better spot in or around Eureka?
Yeah I have been told the best place in the area is right there in Ferndale...Poppa Joe's. The Cookhouse is sort-of an institution and for $12.50 they'll load you up with a breakfast that will make you reset the preload on your shock!

Mattole Road is easy to find in Ferndale...has a big arch over it. You are clearly a much more experienced rider than I am and so I'm sure you and your pillion-passenger will have no trouble with the sharp, steep uphill and downhill turns, the gravel &c &c &c. Take care tho!

Thanks Dave for the Info..... after Ferndale we'll be working our way slowly along Hwy 1 towards Napa for another couple of days of wine drinking:thumbup: ... Then up to Georgetown where I grew up to show Meredith around the area.... Tahoe and start turning south for home.
If you've been out of the area for a while you may not know how much the wineries have grown in the Livermore area. There are still a few special places in the Napa area where we go but we mostly do our tasting (and RE_tasting!:yesnod:) around Livermore. Let me know if you'd like some recommendations in that area.

Yes, that would be great.... we also were looking at the May issue of Sunset and thought about checking out some of the creameries/cheeses in that area.... before we arrive in Napa, I think Meredith made some reservations for two days in Valley Ford at a B&B... so we are spending four days in that area
Very nice write-up of my home turf, BluesCruiser.

Samoa Cookhouse is a local institution, and worth the visit just for the pictures and artifacts in the little museum. The food is what was served to the mill workers and loggers "back in the day," so its more hearty than gourmet--other than the home made bread, which is wonderful! If you have time, the Maritime Museum next door to the Cook House is worth a visit, and if you are there on a summer week end, the Logging Heritage Society will be running their original railroad speeder on the tracks beside the Cook House and telling some stories and a few fibs about the old time logging days as they take passengers up and down the tracks along the bay. A group my wife and I belong to meets there once a month on Saturdays, so we ate there yesterday. Always worthwhile, but read my suggestions below...

For breakfast in the Fortuna/Eureka area, try Gill's By The Bay. Take the King Salmon exit between Fortuna and Eureka, follow the road behind the PG & E power plant and its at the end of the road on the edge of the bay. If Gill is there when you are, he will happily tell you the stories behind the whaling station pictures on the walls. He worked as a flenser at the whaling station at Fields Landing (a mile further down the bay) until it burned down. Another good choice is the Golden Harvest Cafe--they have a small restaurant on South Broadway (that's Highway 101 on the south side of Eureka) as well as a larger restaurant in Arcata. You will probably have to wait in line to get in to the South Broadway place.

Now here's a real secret--for a really great breakfast or lunch, try the Loleta Bakery in Loleta. It's on Main Street in Loleta between the post office and the Loleta Meat Market. Jeannie has the place open at 7 AM Tuesday-Saturday, and you won't find better baked goods anywhere, so after breakfast pick up a loaf of your favorite specialty bread, then hike up the street half a block to the Loleta Cheese Factory and pick up some fresh cheese, and then you will have your lunch ready for further down the road.

For rooms, you will do better in Fortuna than Eureka or Arcata. Take the Riverwalk exit at the south end of Fortuna and you will find several clean brand name motels, as well as a good campground if you would rather camp than use a motel.
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Thanks for the info..... guys.... we're excited to spend sometime in and around the area...... while on the coast, we're not traveling more than about 80 miles or so a day so we can hike and explore around.

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I love the Lost Coast ride -- one of my favorites. In fact I'm doing it again in a couple of weeks.

One of these trips I'm going to try the Ettersburg/Wilder Ridge route from 1 up to Honeydew, which consists partly of steep gravel hairpins. But not til I get some crash guards.
Just back from the lost coast myself. The cooler temperatures were a nice change from the desert heat.
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